STORRS, Conn. — Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame just seem to have Connecticut’s number.
The Irish have turned one of the best rivalries in women’s basketball into a one-sided affair lately, winning five of the past six meetings.
The senior All-American scored 19 points hitting big shot after big shot in the second half to lift fifth-ranked Notre Dame to a 73-72 victory over the top-ranked Huskies on Saturday.
This was the latest victory for the Irish (12-1, 1-0 Big East), who also ended UConn’s season the past two years by beating the Huskies in past two Final Fours.
“I think when we play them, there is a lot on the line, whether it is a Big East Championship or them being ranked higher than us or in the Final Four,” Diggins said. “This is good for us.”
The last team to beat UConn five out of six times was Miami back in the early 1990s – before the Huskies started winning national championships.
The Irish were expected to be down this season with three starters graduated. It didn’t matter with Diggins still on the team.
With UConn poised to pull away in the second half, Diggins hit back-to-back 3-pointers to keep her team in the game.
Later with the shot clock about to run out, Diggins hit a leaner from the wing.
Finally, with the Irish down by one with 49 seconds left, she got fouled on a drive and calmly sank both free throws. It would be the last points of the game.
The Huskies (12-1, 0-1) had a few chances to pull out the win in the final 30 seconds, but in front of a sellout crowd of 10,127, they fell short.
DEPAUL 86, NO. 11 LOUISVILLE 80
In Chicago, Anna Martin scored 22 points and DePaul (12-3) held on to defeat Louisville (12-3) in the Big East opener for both teams.
Brittany Hrynko had 21 points and seven assists for the Blue Demons, who have won six in a row.
NO. 14 PURDUE 69, NO. 25 NEBRASKA 66 (OT)
In Lincoln, Neb., Sam Ostarello had 17 points and a career-high 19 rebounds and Purdue (13-2, 2-0 Big Ten) held off Nebraska (11-4, 1-1) in overtime.
NO. 17 OKLAHOMA 78, TEXAS 70
In Austin, Texas, Sharane Campbell scored 24 points and Oklahoma (12-2, 2-0 Big 12) defeated Texas (7-6, 0-2).
NO. 21 KANSAS 60, WEST VIRGINIA 59
In Morgantown, W.Va., Carolyn Davis made a layup with 42 seconds left to break a tie and Kansas (11-2, 2-0 Big 12) held on to edge West Virginia (8-5, 0-2).